After much back and forth, the US and North Korea have now agreed on the cost of the US troop presence. Former US President Trump’s demand caused outrage in South Korea.
After long arguments about South Korea’s new share in the cost of the US troop presence in the East Asian country, both sides have reached an agreement in principle. This was announced by both countries after a breakthrough that was achieved on Sunday (local time) in Washington in the negotiations on cost-sharing.
The South Korean government will “close the gap that has existed for more than a year” by quickly signing an agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in Seoul on Monday. Further details were initially not given.
Trump had asked for significantly more money
The US currently has 28,500 soldiers in South Korea against potential threats from North Korea. Under former President Donald Trump, the US government had originally requested that its ally South Korea should raise around five billion dollars (4.2 billion euros) annually for the stationing of US soldiers, or around five times the share previously paid. The demands were declared unacceptable by the South Korean side. The term of the previous agreement ended in 2019.
The latest agreement will reinforce the importance of the bilateral alliance as “a pillar of peace, security and prosperity for Northeast Asia” and for the rest of the world, the US State Department’s Politico-Military Affairs Bureau said on Twitter. The new agreement, which provides for a “significant increase” in the South Korean contribution, should apply until 2025, wrote the Wall Street Journal, citing a spokesman for the US State Department.